close up photo of stainless shift knob representing the "shifts" in a career

See, what happened was…

TL;DR: Since August 2023, I’m navigating major changes in career and living — new job, return to pre-xAPI career track, newly single again and a return to Chicago.

New Job

My sojourn at Elsevier came to an end after six years.

I didn’t anticipate it, but I was prepared, and so it was with the grace of the Universe, in late September I stepped into a career role as a Lead Human Resources Specialist with the US National Archives & Records Administration (NARA), working under the terrific and venerable Steve Flowers.

I said above that I was prepared. I had a good run at Elsevier and since the pandemic started in 2020, moving virtual has meant the team gradually grew smaller, invisibly. I’ve spent a lot of time working alone; enough that I already knew for a while I wanted a change, but it’s tough to quit a good job. Still, over the last year, I’ve done a bit to come out of my shell, apply and interview for a few roles; nothing that ever worked all the way out, but no regrets either.

In the last year, I was heartened (as were many mutual friends and colleagues) to find out that Steve was promoted from within NARA. At the very first Up to All of Us, we talked about the need for opportunities to grow within organizations beyond those at the very top. Promotions are a hallmark of an organization that takes transition planning kinda seriously; that takes developing its people seriously. A few months ago, I paid attention as Steve started building his team, checking out listings on usajobs.gov. The morning I got laid off, there was a posting about to go live for another Lead Human Resources Specialist opening, so I submitted a resume to a previous posting, assuming they’d be similar, if not identical, job requisitions.

Navigating a Federal Career

It had been six years since I put a resume together for the role I had at Elsevier; I had never applied into the federal jobs system. Fortunately, another Up to All of Us alum, David D. LaCroix, had *just* gone through the full federal employment process and was about to start his role as a Product Manager with the Center for Disease Control (CDC)! Thanks to David’s timely coaching I spent a productive 36 hours putting my experiences into the parlance of the job posting.

As I had a Schedule A letter from a prior attempt at applying for a federal role the hiring process was really straightforward and efficient. If you have a doctor who will vouch that you’re on the spectrum, request a Schedule A letter from your doctor. It can save *months* off the federal hire process for roles that have that exemption.

Shifting Back to Practice Leadership

So it was my fourth layoff, and arguably the fourth time I’ve jumped career tracks entirely.

  1. Public Teacher/Librarian -> Private Sector software work
  2. Private Sector software work -> Government subcontracting
  3. Government subcontracting -> Self-employment/Prime Contracting
  4. Prime Contracting WHILE ALSO private sector software work -> Federal Public Servant

When last I worked in Learning & Development within an HR context, it was with WW Grainger Inc in the late 2000s. I needed xAPI to be a thing that existed so I could do what was asked of me — to measurably demonstrate the impact of organizational development/change efforts.

Thirteen years later, I’ve done a lot to demonstrate I can measure the impact of organizational development/change efforts. I’m glad so much of my work is public, or even in the public domain. I’m thankful for the opportunity for this old-ass Eagle Scout to serve, and for professional friends and colleagues that can convey years of career coaching wisdom in a sentence or two.

What about xAPI?

I needed xAPI to be a thing that did what it does, to do the job I used to have… and kinda now have again. At Grainger, I worked within an L&D role that was swappable and coupled with organizational development professionals that were in charge of workflow, business process changes and change management. It’s a big influence on why I sought my Lean/Sig Sigma Black Belt certificate from Villanova as part of my employment at Elsevier. To the degree I can inform solutions that meet the needs of the people who keep National Archives going, we’ll see.

With my involvement in the standards work for xAPI done, I planned to spend more of my time in 2024 volunteering in-person. I joined the board of the Philadelphia Robotics Coalition in September 2023.

Life, though, had other plans for me this year. More on that, probably, in the next post.